The state of Florida has some of the highest crime rates in the country. In fact, Miami is among the top ten most dangerous cities in the United States. As a result, the state of Florida has been cracking down on crime by instilling stricter laws and tightening law enforcement actions.
If you have been charged or arrested for a crime, then you know that your life can be impacted significantly. Exercise your right to representation by consulting a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to get you the justice you deserve. Visit here to learn more about how a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer can help you.
Here are four laws that can substantially impact your life:
1. Drug possession is synonymous with trafficking – Florida state laws regarding drug possession have changed significantly since the Florida District Court of Appeals ruled in Brown V State that mere possession of a certain quantity of drugs can be considered trafficking without evidence as to intention to distribute.
According to the precedent set by the Court of Appeals, individuals who are found in possession of certain drugs can be convicted before a Florida court for possession and trafficking—depending on the amount of drugs involved and in one’s possession at the time of arrest.
These drugs include:
- Prescription medications
Trafficking carries a minimum mandatory state prison sentence under law. This means that if you or someone close to you is caught possessing a certain amount of drugs, you can be sentenced to jail for trafficking.
In addition, possession of prescription drugs without a valid doctor’s prescription is illegal, and you can be charged for possession (depending on the quantities).
If you have been charged with drug possession or trafficking, then make it a priority to speak with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. Such a conviction can have a huge negative impact on your life going forward. Even the slightest misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge can damage your reputation and make your life more difficult.
2. DUI/DWI laws have been expanded – Florida has some of the strictest DUI and DWI laws in the country. According to Florida law, anyone with more than .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath or more than .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood can be arrested for DUI.
In addition, driving under the influence of prescribed drugs is also a chargeable offense. And, yes, even if these prescription drugs were prescribed legally by a doctor.
- First offense DUI charge carries a fine of between $250 and $500 and it can also result in a prison sentence of up to six months.
- A second offense carries a higher fine of up to $1000 and can also result in a conviction of up to nine months.
- A third DUI conviction carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
If you have been charged with a DUI, exercise your right to a Florida criminal defense attorney for help.
Also Read : Penalties for DUI in Jacksonville
3. Florida Statute of Limitations – In Florida, there is a prescribed time frame for prosecutors to file formal charges against defendants. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. It is codified under section 775.15 of the Florida Statutes.
The exact time frame for bringing forth criminal charges against individuals depends on the exact crime allegedly committed. For capital offenses such as murder or manslaughter, or charges carrying a maximum death penalty, there is no limitation on when the prosecutor can bring forth charges against you.
However, for smaller misdemeanors and lesser felonies, there is a time limit of between a year and five years within which a prosecutor has to charge you before court. Read more here.
In addition, certain offenses have conditions that accompany the time frame. For example, offenses such as misconduct in a public office should be prosecuted within two years of leaving office while for sexual offenses involving minors, their time limits start running at age 16 or when the offense was first reported, whichever is earlier.
4. Plea Bargaining – Plea bargaining is a common defense tactic in the criminal trial process. In fact, according to the Federal Justice Statistics, p to 95% of the defendants in criminal cases pled guilty in 2009. Read more here.
Plea bargains involve a sit down between the prosecutor and the defendant where the latter is offered a reduced punishment in exchange for pleading guilty.
Often, these plea bargains see defendants relinquishing their constitutional rights, specifically with regard to the sixth amendment right to a speedy trial before an impartial jury.
Additionally, court precedence has seen judges withdraw plea bargains in case the defendant refuses to testify against a co-accused such as in Hummel V State (4th DCA 10/23/2013). Read more here.
Don’t Mess with Florida Criminal Laws – Call a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney
Florida criminal laws can be convoluted and complex. For the accused, understanding what is happening can be even more difficult. But there are proven techniques to get about them and the charges brought against you can be beaten.
In case you or a loved one has been arrested or is being tried before a court of law, then exercise your right to representation by consulting a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.
Visit here to get started with a reputable, experienced, and aggressive Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.